Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has said no to Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson's request for an emergency session on Bill 259-35, which would initiate the recall election of the mayor of Yona.
Barnes said the absence of village Mayor Jesse Blas, who has been incarcerated since September as he awaits his trial, hasn't negatively impacted the village of Yona.
"I reached out to a handful of of residents of the village of Yona. From my conversations with them, they highlighted to me that given that there will be an election later this year, their needs are being addressed by the more than capable staff and Mayor's Council of Guam Executive Director," Speaker Barnes responded to Nelson. "... The fact that there is no immediate threat to life, safety, and health, I am unable to waive the Open Government Law."
However, having made the response, the Speaker said she will be leaving island on Thursday for a funeral, which will make Nelson acting speaker and then she can make that call for a special session.
Nelson requested the session for Thursday, Jan. 16, so that senators can discuss and vote on the bill. In her letter to the Speaker, Nelson reiterated the special circumstances that have created an administrative and leadership void in Yona, leading some village residents to seek guidance from lawmakers on how to move forward with a recall election.
Nelson several Yona residents, through testimony provided during two town hall meetings she convened in the village, said they would support the recall of the Yona Mayor. Dozens of residents expressed fears and concerns that the absence of the mayor may precipitate threats to public safety and community welfare, according to the press release.
Nelson implored the Speaker to call an emergency session and "restore public trust for the people of Yona."
"Every village on our island has the right to have their elected municipal leaders accessible to them with the ability to address constituent concerns and represent them in community matters. This is what we are working towards," Nelson stated.